Monday, March 1, 2021

Some changes for Rori’s 8th annual ‘Holiday Drive’

By Rori Bennett – Junior Reporter

Hello everyone, I know a lot of you have been asking about the Toy Drive I have run for the past eight years in conjunction with my birthday in an attempt to give back to a charity that has helped thousands of families, including my own.

Unfortunately, I had to delay my 8th Annual Drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in London.

Due to the changing world climate relating to COVID-19, the Ronald McDonald House of Southwestern Ontario has placed some restrictions on fundraisers and donations being brought to the house, while still encouraging an atmosphere of giving. The presence of COVID-19 does not change the need of the children and families who utilize the Ronald McDonald House at Christmas.

After some discussion with a RMH representative, who relayed the decision regarding how the board of directors would like donations and fundraisers to work, it was decided that my 8th Annual Toy Drive would be renamed as a Holiday Drive.

What this means is that rather than donating vehicle loads of toys to a house that is currently operating at 75% due to COVID-19, and trying to figure out the logistics surrounding the quarantine and cleaning of all donations, the Ronald McDonald House of Southwestern Ontario has requested that donations be geared towards wish list items.

They are focusing the request on gift cards that can be used by parents to purchase items for their children through the holidays or to restock their cupboards upon return home.

Additionally, they are asking for non perishables for the pantry the families at the house use. They will still welcome toys, but do not want as much emphasis put on gifts at this time. As in previous years, due to the high risk for infection, it is especially important to keep the children and families using the house safe.

Therefore, we ask that all donations be new and left unwrapped.

There is also an option to make a cash donation that would be used to purchase the items the Ronald McDonald House in London feel would best support those residing in the house over the Christmas season.

I am excited to be able to help this non-profit charity for my eighth year.

I am asking for everyone to share this message so that as many people as possible can be helped.

If you or your family are able or willing to help out this amazing charity and the families who will utilize the house throughout the Christmas season, please contact me to arrange for a drop off or a porch pick up.

Alternately, if you belong to a local Chatham-Kent business or organization, I would welcome any involvement you are willing and able to provide. Businesses and organizations will receive recognition and thanks on my Facebook page.

I recognize that Chatham-Kent has been hit as hard as the rest of the province due to closures and restrictions.

With that being said, I would welcome your help in any way, including by simply showing your support and sharing my posts.

If you would like to make a donation of any kind, please feel free to message me and I will respond as quick as possible.

The Ronald McDonald House in London will help a large number of families this year despite the presence of COVID-19, and I am asking you to help me give back.

My ‘Holiday drive’ started on Monday, November 9, 2020.

Look for updates on my Facebook page, here.

Here is a number of wish list items:

Gift cards: To be sent home with families to stock up on some groceries after staying at the house for three months, help to fill up their gas tank before heading home, or helping RMHC-SWO purchase groceries and fresh produce

Pantry items: Keeping the staples stocked to help with snacks, baked goods, meals, etc.

Personal care/toiletries: Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, hair brushes and combs, deodorant, tooth paste, tooth brushes, etc.

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